Handspinning on the traditional  Desi Charkha unfortunately, has become the most neglected & forgotten strength of Khadi whereas, the faster semi-mechanized Ambar Charkha has been in favour over the last 50 years. Therefore, a determined effort is being made to develop hand spinning upto 115s count on the Desi Charkha & develop 115s to 500s count on the Ambar Charkha so that they do not compete with mill yarns which average at 120s count. 

After the initial exhibition titled ‘Khadi – The fabric of freedom’ in 2002-2003, the original sponsors Volkart Foundation on the recommendation of Martand Singh handed over the exhibition for its promotion & development of Khadi fabrics to Rta Kapur Chishti & her team including Rahul Jain & Pallavi Verma.

What is khadi?

The word Khadi is derived from ‘khaddar’ which essentially means a fabric developed through weaving of handspun yarns on a handloom. The entire process i.e. separation of cotton from the cotton seed, cleaning, combing, carding, spinning of yarn and weaving of fabric is all carried out by hand.

Khadi was widely produced & used for clothing & home linen all over India until the influx of mill yarns imported by the British at first & later substituted by Indian mills. As a result, handlooms began to use mill yarns as they were smoother, stronger & easier to handle on the loom though that essentially meant compromising on the texture of the handspun fabrics.

What is the difference between desi charkha and ambar khadi?

The hand spun yarns of the traditional spinning wheel have a much lower twist than the mechanized Amber spinning wheel which is a manual counterpart to the mill spinning mechanism. Thus, the fabric developed through weaving of hand spun yarn is more soft, supple and absorbent.

Why desi charkha khadi?

  • Uses indigenous rain fed organic cottons
  • Makes for an ecologically viable & sustainable activity
  • Employs fine hand skills especially of women
  • Cotton seeds are extracted by hand thus they can be reused for sowing back into the fields and is also used in animal feed.
  • Drawing and twisting by hand renders an uneven texture and low twist to create greater absorbency for summer and these yarns provide warmth in winter
  • Ideal for wearing and home use
  • Healthy, supple, soft and soothing to touch for any skin type